Body Without Organs
(Audiofile Tapes, 1985, Reissued on Dark Entries, 2019)
“On a beach in distant seas, Osiris rises upon thee” sounds an overdriven vocoder voice in a somnambulist spoken word delivery. If you look past the Egyptian mythology theme, there’s a repetitive, swirling synth sequence, a minimal electro-beat and mighty lots of delay. Esoteric industrial music or just bold dilettantism? I’m still not sure, but I keep coming back to this strangely meditative song.
(Clever, Carrere, 1984)
Boogie funk from the early eighties by a French guy with some killer ass boots who gave himself a generic American sounding name in order to sell more records. It may be making a few decent bucks on discogs these days, but as far as I know, it didn’t get much response back in the eighties. “Transistor” is undoubtedly a super fun song though. Its stumbling, yet punchy beat provides a firm ground for the uplifting synths and the trebly, thin funk guitar to blossom on. It’s almost like you’re waking up on a sunny Saturday morning with an opulent breakfast fantasy in your mind, before you instantly realize that there is only some filter coffee and three eggs in a carton left. And that is already something, after all. More highlights: the super clunky slap-bass breakdown and the French woman singing “Transistooor”.
Come & Take A Ride With Me (Mad CJ Mac)
(Screwed Up Records & Tapes, 1998)
Floating, slowed-down version of a rather — to me at least — unknown mid-90’s G-Funk song (and if I’m not mistaken, there are also bits of 2Pac’s “Heavy In The Game” in here). Music that is circling around its modified self while seemingly becoming lost in a woozy, drugged-out atmosphere without restraint. Nonetheless, it’s got that warm, nostalgic West Coast sound, sprinkled with DJ Screw’s notorious codeine-ridden slurs on top, because of which I often wondered whether he had not already faded from this world by the time of recording – so bizarre his voice sometimes sounded. He was known for releasing countless tapes and CDs of heavily edited, slowed-down versions of mostly Hip-Hop and R’n’B songs; songs which I used to listen to a lot when I was younger. Until I discovered Ride The Lightning by Metallica and unfortunately started to resolutely ignore rap music and all its ludicrous outgrowths for a good solid decade. A lot of music from those days — certain keys and samples — has settled somewhere in my subconscious and Screw’s tapes along with their auratic quality seemingly reconnect with these traces of memory.
A Genre Sonique
(Planet Mu, 2014)
Jamal Moss a.k.a. Hieroglyphic Being is typically known for his idiosyncratic approach to dance music. His type of house and techno mostly appears to be a raw and mystical one, drawing influences from Sun Ra (which is more of a worship than plain influence) to noise music to, of course, the jacking grooves of his home town of Chicago (e.g. Ron Hardy) to even the maze-like prose of Jorge Luis Borges. On a straight aural level, “A Genre Sonique” can be somewhat challenging and demanding, not unlike his infamous crude mixing style during live DJ sets. Simultaneously it remains a polyrhythmic monster, fed by repetitive loops of obscure samples and cascades of assaulting, delay-ridden electro breaks, constantly weaving and shifting like tectonic plates. In other words, an impressive piece of electronic psychedelia.
I vividly remember her show at Panorama Bar a year ago. This particular track off of her latest EP embodies that physical experience to the fullest: a trancy, powerful broadband sound that sweeps everything along with it, covering it all in a violet, energetically charged haze of schemes and sound. “‘Turbo Olé’ is fucking rocket fuel.” (Boomkat)
Moebius & Plank
(Curious Music, 1995)
“Automatic” may sound a bit dorky and stiff at first but there’s no denying: when the hi-hat kicks in around the three-minute mark that this track is — I’m sorry — irresistibly groovy. It comes from one of the last studio sessions by Dieter Moebius (Cluster) and Krautrock luminary Conny Plank (always with the addition: legendary producer) which was held, if my sources are correct, in 1985 — two years before Plank passed away and four years after Cluster’s swan song Curiosum. Therefore, I see it more than a stubborn, pragmatic beat study by zis two Germans, whose strict execution is probably not without a certain irony.
One of the best techno tracks ever made. Period. Produced somewhere in a backyard studio on Reichenberger Straße in Berlin in 1993, this thirteen minute banger still stands the test of time and its mercilessly ongoing process. In my naive, old-fashioned cosmos, I think of “Domina” as still being the quintessential Berlin sound.
Richard H. Kirk
Basically proto-techno, made by one of the founding members of industrial pioneers Cabaret Voltaire. And although there are a still some guitar lines left flickering around from his punkier days, it is this strange metallic resonance, this thick, warped kickdrum and disturbingly pitch-shifted vocal delivery that takes “Nocturnal Children” into new dimensions. Time High Fiction, the album on which particular track can be found, was released around the same time as Chrome’s 3rd From the Sun, and to me, they fit perfectly next to each other with their strange, mutated form of post-punk, their Cold War paranoia and dystopian sci-fi visions.
The Now Generation
The Now Generation
(Coloursound, 1983, Reissued on Be With Records, 2019)
It’s kind of hard to imagine, but in the late seventies, Munich — otherwise more or less a reactionary and snobbish city — legitimately had a queer glam to it and was known as a disco town where artists like the Sparks or Giorgio Moroder frequented the clubs on a regular basis. “The Now Generation” comes straight from the archives of a library music label from that very city. Which means that this record was exclusively produced for radio, film or television, likely was sold directly to some media archives and did not enter the free market. Furthermore, The Now Generation features Austrian studio drummer and percussionist Pit Troja who by himself gathered a little cult-following surrounding his novelty song “Der Voodoo Mann”. File under: slightly industrial-infused euro-disco or faux, imperialistic afro-beat, if you want to be a cynical asshole.
(Vox Man Records, 1985)
“Avaze Djodayi” could be described as little minimal synth vignette which hangs onto like a dream fragment. This is, of course, the opposite of “in-your-face” or “hard-hitting”, but its soft pounding beat serves as good excuse to mention this French duo which has quietly come to be one of my favorite groups over the last couple of years. Along with Nový Svět or Ain Soph they also most likely had a strong influence on contemporary German acts like Brannten Schnüre, Kirschstein and other hobby mystics.